Ballon d'Or winners of 21st century, from Benzema and Figo via Messi and Ronaldo

An era largely dominated by two players but there are many other great players to receive the award

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Karim Benzema on Monday night was named the winner of the 2022 Ballon d'Or after a remarkable year with his club Real Madrid.

Benzema, 34, was the main man for Madrid as the Spanish giants won the Champion League and La Liga double, the French striker scoring 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions. Those goals included hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea in the Champions League last 16 and quarter-finals before firing another three across two legs against Manchester City in the semifinals.

Benzema is the first Frenchman to win the award since 1998 when the accolade went to his former coach Zinedine Zidane, who was on hand to present Benzema the trophy at the ceremony in Paris.

"This prize in front of me makes me really proud," Benzema said. "When I was small, it was a childhood dream, I never gave up. Anything is possible.

"I'm really proud of my journey here. It wasn't easy, it was a difficult time for my family as well."

Benzema adds his name to an illustrious list of players to be recipients of the Ballon d'Or, voted for by 100 journalists around the world to select the best male footballer of the year.

In the photo gallery above is the complete list of Ballon d'Or winners since the start of the 21st century. To move on to the next photo, click on the arrows or if using a mobile device, simply swipe.

Updated: October 18, 2022, 7:38 AM
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